HRW call for impartial investigation of Republican Guards clashes

HRW call for impartial investigation of Republican Guards clashes

An injured man lies on a gurney as he is brought for medical treatment in Cairo following overnight violence, on July 8, 2013.  (AFP PHOTO/STR)

An injured man lies on a gurney as he is brought for medical treatment in Cairo following overnight violence, on July 8, 2013.
(AFP PHOTO/STR)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called upon interim president Adly Mansour to guarantee “impartial investigations of military officers and police for killings outside the Republican Guards headquarters.”

“The investigations need to be conducted by the civilian judiciary, independent both institutionally and practically from the military chain of command,” said HRW in a press release on Sunday.

The rights group also pointed out that the most recent constitutional declaration prevents a civilian investigation of the clashes that resulted in more than 50 deaths.

Mansour appointed a civilian judicial panel to investigate the clashes the day they occurred. HRW claims, however, that the recent constitutional declaration issued by Mansour “gives the military justice system exclusive jurisdiction over crimes involving military personnel.”

The group highlighted that the civilian panel is therefore unable to fully investigate the clashes, and called upon Mansour to issue an additional declaration to allow “civilian courts to investigate military personnel in the case of serious human rights abuses in which the victims are civilians.”

A spokesperson for the armed forces told the Daily News Egypt that the military has no open investigation of the clashes and asserted that the civilian judicial panel is carrying out the investigation.

HRW claims that the Egyptian military has provided no evidence to prove its accusation that the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi stormed the headquarters believing that the former president was being held inside.

The organisation carried out its own investigation of the clashes and spoke to 24 witnesses, including protesters, local residents and seven doctors. The group also reviewed video footage from protesters and local media that HRW “considered credible”. The witnesses all agreed that the military and police forces “moved in to break-up the peaceful sit-in, simultaneously approaching protesters outside the Republican Guard building.”

The rights group acknowledged that both sides had guns and were firing live ammunition although it is not clear who fired live rounds first.

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